In the entertainment industry, the key to success is having people come and watch your production, performance, creation or concert. Historically, media companies achieved this by encouraging crowds to watch in person or by broadcasting on television or radio. Today, however, broadcasting also includes multiple forms of streaming, casting and on-demand services. With the ever-growing range of media available, you are now more likely than ever to enter into some form of broadcast agreement as a performer. This article sets out some of the key considerations to watch out for when entering into these agreements. 

The Broadcast

A broadcast agreement should outline when, where and how content will be broadcast. Broadcasters may want to pay a single fee for the right to broadcast the content whenever, wherever and however they like. However, you need to make sure that the broadcaster only has permission to broadcast your work on terms that you agree to. 

For example, a television broadcast agreement should specify:

  • what channels the content will be displayed on;
  • whether the broadcast will be live;
  • how many times it can be broadcast;
  • what advertising is displayed during the broadcast;
  • whether or not the broadcast is limited geographically (e.g. statewide, nationwide or worldwide);
  • whether it will be available on their on-demand streaming service after being broadcast and, if so, for how long; and
  • what quality the broadcast will be in (e.g. HD).

Broadcast agreements for web-based broadcast or other similar services should contain similar items. 

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property (IP) clause is important for both you, the entertainer or content owner, and the broadcaster. The broadcaster needs the right to broadcast the content you provide them and you need to ensure that you are not transferring your ongoing ownership rights to the broadcaster. Broadcast agreements should contain a statement to the effect that: 

  • the broadcast does not give rise to any transfer of ownership; and 
  • each party is responsible for ensuring their own intellectual property does not breach the rights of any third party. 

Additionally, the broadcast agreement should contain a licence clause, which sets out the conditions on which you licence the content to the broadcaster. 

Some considerations for the licence clause include:

  • whether the licence is exclusive or non-exclusive (i.e. whether you can licence it to another broadcaster at the same time);
  • how long the licence goes for;
  • whether the broadcaster can make any modifications to the content, such as editing it to fit a certain runtime;
  • the location where the licence is valid; and
  • if the licence is transferable or sublicensable. 

Other Risks

You should ensure that you retain ownership over your intellectual property and that your content is broadcast in the manner you want. However, there are a number of other risks and matters to consider when entering into a broadcast agreement. For example, you should think about:

  • the price you receive for your content;
  • whether the broadcaster must broadcast your content;
  • what happens if the broadcast displays inappropriate advertising and the broadcast damages your image or reputation;
  • whether you or the broadcaster can extend the broadcast agreement for an agreed fee; and
  • whether you have the right to terminate the broadcast agreement at any time.

Key Takeaways

As an entertainer, it is important to retain control of your intellectual property and your content. You should always ensure that your content is presented in a way that aligns with your message and brand. Broadcast agreements are often issued by bigger businesses, which means that they may be more favourable to the broadcaster than to you. It is important to: 

  • understand the contract
  • be clear on the rights that you are willing to hand over; and 
  • protect the rights you wish to retain. 

If you need help with reviewing your broadcast agreement or negotiating with a broadcaster, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

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